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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sherman: Rafael Soriano: Silent treatment speaks volumes

ATTACK! This is bloodier than Jack Palance’s tank-shredded right arm!

After his first meltdown as a Yankee, which led to a 5-4 Minnesota triumph in 10 innings last night, Soriano vanished. He never came to his locker. A flustered Yankees media relations official conceded Soriano probably dressed quickly and departed, leaving others to explain his ineffectiveness.

This would not be quite as big a deal if Soriano’s reputation were closer to pristine. But in previous stops in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, he was known for being prickly, reclusive, determined not to be used in any way, but how he thought fit. Last year he expected, for example, to be deployed only for a full inning in save situations.

...Thus, when his attention and fastball seem off, there is natural wonder if Soriano does not think 4-0 in the eighth inning is worth his full attention. That would have been among the questions asked had he handled last night with professionalism. Instead, he fled, leaving uncertainty if this was a singular poor effort for a talented pitcher or a bad omen for a bad actor.

...But really, this game was lost in the eighth. Was it because of the cold that Soriano faltered? Pitching the day before? Unfamiliarity with the role? Or anger at being asked to take the ball at 4-0 in the eighth? Soriano played to the worst of his reputation and was not around to answer.

He took a bribe to come here for a role he did not really want. Maybe money really can’t buy happiness.

Repoz Posted: April 06, 2011 at 09:31 AM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: game recaps, rays, twins, yankees

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: April 06, 2011 at 10:01 AM (#3787533)
Ballplayer doesn't want to talk to media -- obviously he's a nutjob!!
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 06, 2011 at 11:31 AM (#3787546)
Whatever the reason, that inning sure did suck. I think either Robertson or CC should have started that inning. 3 friggin walks...ugh.
   3. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: April 06, 2011 at 11:35 AM (#3787549)
I didn't RTFA, but the excerpt sure helps to explain why Soriano might not like reporters.
   4. Gotham Dave Posted: April 06, 2011 at 11:37 AM (#3787550)
OMFG. Really?
   5. flournoy Posted: April 06, 2011 at 11:51 AM (#3787553)
There are an awful lot of reporters who deem the worst personality trait in the world to be not cooperating completely with reporters. I'm not really sure why they expect us to care about how they get treated in the locker room, but they clearly have a very high sense of importance.

I know for sure that if I had a bad day, I would not hang around to have a bunch of idiots with microphones and cameras ask me why I sucked that day.
   6. Hack Wilson Posted: April 06, 2011 at 12:24 PM (#3787558)
ATTACKThis is bloodier than Jack Palance’s tank-shredded right arm


I remember that movie, and I winced many years later when Palance did pushups on the Academy Award Show. Forget Tommy John surgery, Jack Palance surgery, without anesthesia per Jack' instructions, far superior.

I don't remember who kills Eddie Albert in the movie (although I think it may be everybody). Thanks Repoz I have just requested the movie from my library, its a forgotten classic.
   7. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 06, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3787562)
There are an awful lot of reporters who deem the worst personality trait in the world to be not cooperating completely with reporters. I'm not really sure why they expect us to care about how they get treated in the locker room, but they clearly have a very high sense of importance.


It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The reporters claim it causes problems in the clubhouse then go around and ask every player about the guy bailing out which causes the problem. To that extent, the reporters are right, but it's a bit of a sleazy approach roughly equivalent with a 3 year old telling you he is going to throw a temper tantrum if he doesn't get a toy.
   8. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: April 06, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#3787565)
In the 10th, Boone Logan yielded the go-ahead run and the Yankees offense completed an eighth straight inning without even getting a runner to scoring position.
But really, this game was lost in the eighth.

Well, there you go.
   9. Tricky Dick Posted: April 06, 2011 at 12:55 PM (#3787569)
I know for sure that if I had a bad day, I would not hang around to have a bunch of idiots with microphones and cameras ask me why I sucked that day.


I think most teams would consider that to be part of the player's job.
   10. Craig Calcaterra Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3787571)
There was a situation with the Mets a few years ago in which Billy Wagner spoke out about how certain players wouldn't face the media after a bad game and how it left others to do the talking. He wasn't mad at talking about the media snub, he was mad about the snub for its own sake.

I think players legitimately dislike it when the people who the reporters really will want to talk to, especially goats of the game, pull a disappearing act. Look at a lot of the Yankees quotes last night. There were a bunch of "I guess" or "you'll have to ask him" kinds of things when they talked about Soriano. I could be imagining it, but I senses some low-level aggravation.

The Yankees have made a point to give their players media training. A big part of this is facing the music after a bad game. When Soriano doesn't do that he's both ticking off his teammates and not going along with the team's program.

Put differently, this is not some media invention. It's a real issue. Maybe not as big a one as it will get blown up into today, but it's real.
   11. Bruce Markusen Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3787573)
Craig, I think you hit it right on the head.
   12. Deacon Blues Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:14 PM (#3787577)
Craig,

That was the most insightful thing on this topic that has been said by anyone on this site. Good recall on the Wagner quote. Since talking to the media is part of a player's job, screwing up and leaving others to do it for you is not a way to engender yourself to teammates.
   13. Hack Wilson Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3787578)
I think you hit it right on the head.


I agree, if more reporters were hit on the head obnoxious reporters, yes I'm talking about you Simers, would go away.
   14. Gotham Dave Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:20 PM (#3787581)
Whatever fault can be found with Soriano's post-game strategy, I think it's much more admirable than flat-out saying the guy doesn't give half a #### after his fourth appearance with the team, because he didn't want to talk to your sleazy ass.
   15. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3787582)
The reflexive thing to do on this website by most posters are to side with the players in most cases. But in this one, I think there's something to what Joel Sherman is writing about. After I turned the game off after the ninth inning, I was hoping that Soriano wouldn't act defensively or say something to make the night even more troubling during the post game interviews precisely because Sherman's previous articles and blog posts cited Soriano's clubhouse behavior witnessed by former teamates and team officials. Sherman's article isn't a second guess or a hatchet job. He's been questioning the Soriano signing from the very beginning and Soriano's personality fitting inside this team's clubhouse. Soriano's post-game no-show pretty much validated some of Sherman's concerns.
   16. TomH Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:28 PM (#3787583)
He was trying to allow a run or two so Mo could have a save opp. Like Marge Schott said about Hitler, he started out OK, but then went too far :)
   17. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:29 PM (#3787584)
Put differently, this is not some media invention.

Said after describing how it's a media invention.

That some players get annoyed that others aren't pulling their weight on the being-annoyed-by-hacks-who-are-too-lazy-to-write-their-own-stories front doesn't mean the root of the problem isn't the untalented d-bags who require quotes to fill inches.
   18. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:39 PM (#3787587)
doesn't mean the root of the problem isn't the untalented d-bags who require quotes to fill inches.

I don't understand how you can paint the entire media with such a broad brush. I don't know who's blog or articles you read, but I've been reading Sherman's articles for a while now and your characterization is uninformed and unfounded. Posters on this website gets their panties all in a bunch when people characterize them as geeks living in their mom's basement but feel they can ascribe all baseball writers and beat reporters the same motiviations and skills based on a small sample size of the local columnists in their local paper. All sports columnists aren't untalented d-bags who require quotes to fill inches, maybe it's just the one you've been reading.
   19. Danny Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:40 PM (#3787588)
Reading the NY Post game story, I don't see any quotes from Yankees players that hint at any bitter feelings regarding Soriano's post-game silence.

And this article isn't about the low-level aggravation he caused his teammates by forcing them to answer questions about him. Rather, the article is about how Soriano's silence suggests that he will continue to fail because he's a head case who doesn't want to be in New York as a setup man.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#3787594)
Posters on this website gets their panties all in a bunch when people characterize them as geeks living in their mom's basement but feel they can ascribe all baseball writers and beat reporters the same motivations and skills based on a small sample size of the local columnists in their local paper.


QFT.

The idea that sportswriters chase after quotes from players because they're lazy is just nutty. It would be far easier for sportswriters to simply sit in the press box after the game and type rather than go to the clubhouse and try to get quotes for their stories.

Sportswriters try to get quotes from the key players in the game because they think that's what their readers want. They might be wrong about this, and it might be unfair of them to attack players for not giving them quotes, but it has absolutely nothing to do with laziness.
   21. Esoteric Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3787596)
The reflexive siding with the "player over the writer" at all costs on Primer is understandable -- most people here have contempt for the media because of their historical aversion to proper statistical analysis and their perceived failures of narrative and investigative effort -- but it leads to stupidity like some of the comments in this thread.

Fact: Rafael Soriano's personality problems are not an invented issue. His history of playing poorly (or with perceived -- by teammates and coaches, not media -- petulance) when brought in to pitch in situations he deems to be beneath his dignity is well-documented. This is not a Plaschke-esque invention of angry, fat, talentless media hacks as some of the more predictably robotic posters here would have it. It's a meme that has trailed Soriano literally since his time in Seattle, to when he was with the Braves, then the Rays, and now the Yankees. Either it's a massive phony confabulation, media malpractice in the worst way, or more likely it's true and Soriano is an immature prick with a lot of talent in his arm but a lot of personal and professional issues that alienate him from his teammates.

Also: skipping out on facing the media after blowing a game is a bush-league move. There's never a good excuse for it, in the eyes of other players, no matter how much ha-ha-the-media-are-jackals excusemongering Primates want to snarkily toss around in this thread. It's part of his ####### job, and he's not doing it because, again, he's known to be a bit of a jerk.
   22. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3787597)
All sports columnists aren't untalented d-bags who require quotes to fill inches

no, not all--only about 95%
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3787613)
... after the ninth inning, I was hoping that Soriano wouldn't act defensively or say something to make the night even more troubling during the post game interviews ....

Soriano's post-game no-show pretty much validated some of Sherman's concerns.


?? If the concern was that he would pop-off or make things more troubling in a post-game interview, isn't avoiding the interview wise?

If he is a hot-head, giving a "no comment" is not more evidence of it.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:19 PM (#3787619)
And is giving interviews "part of the job" or is it "comes with the territory"? Do the player contracts include clauses about post-game interviews?

I hate how newspapers expect more frequent access from baseball players for whom English is the second language than they expect from elected officials. I've hated it since the Boston media always tried to make "Pedro Martinez is/isn't talking to the media" an important issue. A player not giving an interview is simply not newsworthy.
   25. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:23 PM (#3787621)
Whether it is in the contract or not it is considered part of the job. I agree with your point that I'd prefer "no comment" to "Jesus Christ, Martin couldn't frame a pitch to save his life and he calls a game like a mental patient, how's a guy supposed to pitch to a half-wit like that?" but Soriano has been around long enough that even with limited English he should be able to give the non-answer answer. If he is uncomfortable speaking in English there is no reason he can't communicate that to the Yankees (and they should check on this) and get an interpreter. I think they can absorb that cost.
   26. and Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3787625)
If you care about how you're perceived in the media, you have to play ball with the media. Just like if you care how you're perceived by women, you have to take their feelings into account. Or if you care how you're perceived by employers, you have to play ball with them.

You can't have it both ways: walk away from the media and care what they think/write/report. If Soriano thinks his media portrayal is unfair, he has to stick around last night and talk to them.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3787631)
walk away from the media and care what they think/write/report. If Soriano thinks his media portrayal is unfair, he has to stick around last night and talk to them.


Do we have any reason to think that Soriano thinks his portrayal is unfair?
   28. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3787637)
And is giving interviews "part of the job" or is it "comes with the territory"? Do the player contracts include clauses about post-game interviews?

I hate how newspapers expect more frequent access from baseball players for whom English is the second language than they expect from elected officials. I've hated it since the Boston media always tried to make "Pedro Martinez is/isn't talking to the media" an important issue. A player not giving an interview is simply not newsworthy.


Thank you. Does anyone honestly give a flying #### about what a pitcher who's just blown a game says in broken English to some moron with a microphone? Soriano's performance in the 8th inning spoke far more eloquently than anything else that could possibly have been added to the conversation.

I've had Extra Innings for 10 years worth of YES, and I'm still waiting for the first coherent post-game interview. After watching Teixeira, Jeter or Rivera filibuster in jockbabble for 60 seconds with one eye on the dugout, I gotta think that Soriano has the right idea.
   29. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3787640)
Sherman's article isn't a second guess or a hatchet job. He's been questioning the Soriano signing from the very beginning and Soriano's personality fitting inside this team's clubhouse.


I'm sorry, but I don't see the logic here. Sherman decided before Soriano even joined the team that he wouldn't fit, and has gone around trying to find evidence to justify his beef without trying to find countervailing evidence, is what it sounds like. That's the very definition of a hatchet job.

I come from a media family, and I think I tend to be more sympathetic to reporters and columnists of all stripes than most people around here, but this is sour grapes bullshit. A player's job is to play baseball and help his team win, full stop. Anything the media can wring out of him is gravy. Does this make me think Soriano is a totally sweet dude? No, not really. But this kind of entitled farting about reflects just as poorly on the reporter as the player, if you ask me. Suck it up and ask relevant questions to other players. If it's absolutely necessary that you buttonhole someone who played like crap, bust Boone Logan's balls or something. Jesus.
   30. spike Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3787650)
But in previous stops in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, he was known for being prickly, reclusive, determined not to be used in any way, but how he thought fit.


I don't know about Tampa Bay, but I recall nothing of the sort during his tenure in Atlanta, and Sherman offers nothing to support this assertion. He was dang good, and I was sorry to see him go. And in fact he was the "closer" only one year of the three, and did just fine as a setup man.
   31. Howie Menckel Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:51 PM (#3787652)
"Posters on this website gets their panties all in a bunch when people characterize them as geeks living in their mom's basement, but feel they can ascribe all baseball writers and beat reporters the same motivations and skills based on a small sample size of the local columnists in their local paper."

Indeed.
   32. Danny Posted: April 06, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3787663)
Fact: Rafael Soriano's personality problems are not an invented issue. His history of playing poorly (or with perceived -- by teammates and coaches, not media -- petulance) when brought in to pitch in situations he deems to be beneath his dignity is well-documented.

Fact: Rafael Soriano has pitched better in low-leverage situations than he has in medium and high leverage situations over the course of his career.
   33. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3787672)
The idea that sportswriters chase after quotes from players because they're lazy is just nutty.

I think the accusation is that it's intellectually lazy. After all, once you get a quote from the player, the rest of the article could usually be written by a good piece of software.

Nevertheless, there's a defense to being intellectually lazy during a 162 game season, because trying to be creative every day over that span can only lead to misery. Where I have a problem is not getting a little ticked at a player making your job harder, that's understandable. My problem is when you ##### about it in the paper the next day instead of letting it go and doing your best with what you got. The player may have caused you a problem, but it's your problem not the rest of the world's.
   34. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3787684)
Where I have a problem is not getting a little ticked at a player making your job harder, that's understandable. My problem is when you ##### about it in the paper the next day instead of letting it go and doing your best with what you got. The player may have caused you a problem, but it's your problem not the rest of the world's.

Sure, but try to tell that to Sherman.
   35. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3787698)

I think the accusation is that it's intellectually lazy. After all, once you get a quote from the player, the rest of the article could usually be written by a good piece of software.


What? It's intellectually lazy to talk to a player for a game story, because the rest of the story writes itself? That makes no sense at all.
   36. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3787701)
I don't know about Tampa Bay, but I recall nothing of the sort during his tenure in Atlanta, and Sherman offers nothing to support this assertion.


There were whispers and asides about his personality, his lack of emotion or warmth and his lack of friends on the team. But all of that didn't seep above the rumormill phase in Bobby Cox's clubhouse. From his entire career arc I would suspect - completely devoid of factual evidence, mind you - that Soriano has some combination of Bob Gibson's personality, Barry Bonds' ability to relate to other players or the media, maybe a little of the Zack Greinke/Joey Votto-esque anxiety thing happening, and a strong language barrier to boot.

None of which justifies his behavior, nor rationalizes Sherman's on-going character assassination trope. I do think there are long standing, on-going issues with Soriano and his personality. He has been reported to dislike non-save usage scenarios in all three previous stops, including Atlanta. And Sherman is playing that angle for all it's worth now that Soriano is in "media mad New York." Of course, it's not surprising that a player like Soriano might chafe in the media spotlight of the City, but at the end of the day that's the world's most obvious self-fullfilling prophecy. If Yankee beat reporters wanted to cut back on the amount of stress non-media savvy players endured in the Bronx they could reel in their over the top "this is New York, and the media is king, and you will do our bidding or suffer our wrath!" bit. Sherman clearly doesn't want that. He's getting too much good copy from milking his Soriano-isn't-cut-out-for-New-York angle, which obviously sells to his readership relatively well.
   37. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3787705)
What? It's intellectually lazy to talk to a player for a game story, because the rest of the story writes itself? That makes no sense at all.


What intellectual advancement of the story or argument is generated by a player quote? Please weight that for the likelihood that the player "quote" is going to be some canned, pre-fabricated nothingness mumbled in rote fashion.
   38. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3787706)
Where I have a problem is not getting a little ticked at a player making your job harder, that's understandable. My problem is when you ##### about it in the paper the next day instead of letting it go and doing your best with what you got.


This is it. It would be impossible to write something brand new every single day about every single game over the course of six months. But it's a really classless move to write this kind of article about it. And this kind of article is really common.
   39. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3787716)
What? It's intellectually lazy to talk to a player for a game story, because the rest of the story writes itself?

No, that the typical beat writer story is basically a paint by numbers sort of thing, with the player interview being the bow that wraps it up (excuse my mixed metaphor). When they don't get that interview, it messes the whole thing up.

And yeah the same game report story we've all seen a gazillion times is indeed intellectually lazy, pretty much by definition. But like I said, it's defensible because of the ridiculous volume of articles these guys have to write. It's impossible to not fall back on formula quite often when you're writing for every game over a 162 game season.
   40. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3787725)
And yeah the same game report story we've all seen a gazillion times is indeed intellectually lazy, pretty much by definition. But like I said, it's defensible because of the ridiculous volume of articles these guys have to write. It's impossible to not fall back on formula quite often when you're writing for every game over a 162 game season.


Then change the formula.
   41. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3787729)
Honestly, if I were Soriano, I'd be mostly mad at Girardi for yanking me. I would want the opportunity to clean up my own mess; I wouldn't want David Robertson to be the hero if he gets out of it.

That said, I think Girardi played it more or less exactly right (though he maybe should have brought in Rivera when the bases got loaded).
   42. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3787734)

What intellectual advancement of the story or argument is generated by a player quote?


It makes the story much more readable and lively.

I mean, God knows, all of us here are much too sophisticated and enlightened to care about such things, and we'd rather see a real-time update of every player's VORP, but some people like their ballplayers all humanlike.
   43. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:35 PM (#3787740)
It makes the story much more readable and lively.

Of course it does, which is the whole point because otherwise the article could be computer generated. And that was simply my point: that the player quote at the end of what happened game report is boilerplate and therefore fits the definition of intellectually lazy. It's defensible laziness, just like not sprinting out of the blocks in a distance race is a defensible lack of effort.

Then change the formula.

Unless you're the editor, that's not your call.
   44. Sheer Tim Foli Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3787744)
When I was young my father told me the story about goalie Jacques Plante who, when asked how he felt after losing a game, answered "How would you feel if every time you made a mistake at work a red light flashed over your head and 20,000 people booed".

It is a flashy (apocryphal?) answer that can help make a career for a writer - but how many times is the player asked that question in his career? How many times can he give a meaningful answer? Deep down I think each writer isn't looking to bury a player so much as hoping he can get something fresh and original. Clubhouse reporting must be like panhandling for gold.
   45. The Good Face Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3787745)
It makes the story much more readable and lively.

I mean, God knows, all of us here are much too sophisticated and enlightened to care about such things, and we'd rather see a real-time update of every player's VORP, but some people like their ballplayers all humanlike.


Nothing humanizes a ballplayer like the rote mumbling of cliches while looking both bored and uneasy. And nothing livens up a story like a quote about "needing to execute better" or "just happy to contribute towards getting a win".
   46. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3787746)
It makes the story much more readable and lively.


From Sherman's recent article about Jeter still hitting at the top of the Yankees order (April 05, NY Post):

"I am paid to make tough decisions and I recognize that would be a tough decision because we are talking about an icon," Girardi said before the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Twins last night. "But I don't think it is ever wrong to do what is right for the team. And I don't think it is right for the team to move [Jeter out of the top of the lineup]. When it is the right time -- if it ever is the right time -- we'll know."

And...

"I'm not ready to jump ship or go crazy," said hitting coach Kevin Long, who has worked to alter Jeter's swing. "I think it would be wrong to go game by game, day by day, analyzing this. I think he's doing fine and we'll get there."

And...

"I don't consider 15 at-bats a start," said Jeter, who is 2-for-14. "I have to get a few more games under my belt to consider it a start."

Canned, trite, cliched pablum. It does not make the story more readable or lively. It makes the story trite and cliched, but it fills column inches, which is all it's designed to do. You might as well just have Kevin Costner on speed dial to recite the officially sanctioned responses from Bull Durham.
   47. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:40 PM (#3787751)
Unless you're the editor, that's not your call.


Get a better editor.
   48. bads85 Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3787757)
Get a better editor.


Choose a better profession.
   49. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3787759)

Canned, trite, cliched pablum. It does not make the story more readable or lively.


As I said, Sam, you're far too sophisticated to care about what any dumb ballplayer says. What's more important to the newspaper, though, is whether the millions of Atlantans who don't measure up to your intellectual capabilities like those kinds of quotes.
   50. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:51 PM (#3787762)
As I said, Sam, you're far too sophisticated to care about what any dumb ballplayer says. What's more important to the newspaper, though, is whether the millions of Atlantans who don't measure up to your intellectual capabilities like those kinds of quotes.


All of this is true. None of it countermands anything I've said in this thread.
   51. The Good Face Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:59 PM (#3787771)
As I said, Sam, you're far too sophisticated to care about what any dumb ballplayer says. What's more important to the newspaper, though, is whether the millions of Atlantans who don't measure up to your intellectual capabilities like those kinds of quotes.


Yes, it'd be a shame to mess up the winning formula that's taken newspapers to such dizzying heights of recent success.
   52. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3787774)
He was trying to allow a run or two so Mo could have a save opp. Like Marge Schott said about Hitler, he started out OK, but then went too far :)


Hitler didn't like talking to Joel Sherman either.
   53. Gaelan Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3787783)
It is the world's loss that I didn't become a professional athlete. I'd be a ####### quote machine.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3787785)
Yes, it'd be a shame to mess up the winning formula that's taken newspapers to such dizzying heights of recent success.


Yes, it's the sports section that's behind newspaper's economic issues. What they need to do is target the 4 percent of the sports audience that wants to know a guys value over replacement level and the win probability at various points of the game. That would be a formula that would take daily newspapers right back up to the top.

As a former sportswriter, I looked at the player/coach quotes as largely a necessary evil. I figured if I couldn't say it better than the coach or player I was in the wrong line of work. But I also knew my editor wanted them, the readers wanted to see them, and occasionally, you'd find an athlete/coach who had something to say that would aid your story (or future stories).

Then again, I never had to work a major league baseball beat, which has got to be an entirely different beast.
   55. TR_Sullivan Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3787796)
This happened in 2003 when I was covering the Rangers for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Rangers were in Oakland and led 3-1 into the eighth. Francisco Cordero gives up a run in the eighth. Ugueth Urbina gives up a run in the ninth. R.A. Dickey gives up a run in the 11th.

Rangers lose 4-3. After the game, we go down into the clubhouse. Talk to Cordero and talk to Dickey. They say whatever they said about giving up their run. Take full blame, no excuses. The next excuse R.A. Dickey ever makes will be his first. He is the real deal as a person.

Urbina refused to talk. He almost never talked to reporters. Didn't make my job better or worse, harder or easier. Probably had the same story with a Showalter quote about Urbina rather than Ug-Boy talking for himself.

Tell me if I'm wrong though. Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."

I tell young players that story often. John Wetteland called it being "accountable." Michael Young same way.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK200306180.shtml
   56. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3787797)
"I am paid to make tough decisions and I recognize that would be a tough decision because we are talking about an icon," Girardi said before the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Twins last night. "But I don't think it is ever wrong to do what is right for the team. And I don't think it is right for the team to move [Jeter out of the top of the lineup]. When it is the right time -- if it ever is the right time -- we'll know."

And...

"I'm not ready to jump ship or go crazy," said hitting coach Kevin Long, who has worked to alter Jeter's swing. "I think it would be wrong to go game by game, day by day, analyzing this. I think he's doing fine and we'll get there."

And...

"I don't consider 15 at-bats a start," said Jeter, who is 2-for-14. "I have to get a few more games under my belt to consider it a start."

Canned, trite, cliched pablum


You're right that it is canned, trite, cliched pablum but it is also true canned, trite, cliched pablum. This is exactly what I want from the guys on my team when they are going poorly. If Girardi is saying after 14 at bats "holy crap, Jeter is toast, I'm booting him to the curb, someone get me Eduardo Nunez!!" I'm a lot more concerned. Sports radio is usually the exact opposite of this stuff and I find that a LOT less interesting than this. At least this is an insight into how the manager runs his tream.
   57. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3787804)
TR, you're just lucky he didn't set you on fire.
   58. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3787807)
I don't know about Tampa Bay, but I recall nothing of the sort during his tenure in Atlanta, and Sherman offers nothing to support this assertion. He was dang good, and I was sorry to see him go. And in fact he was the "closer" only one year of the three, and did just fine as a setup man.

Seconded. At different times, Soriano was the closer in Atlanta, he shared closer duties with Gonzalez, and he served as Gonzalez' setup man. He pitched hurt, he pitched on consecutive days (including one memorable game with the Dodgers when he pitched on his fourth straight day, had absolutely nothing, yet still got the save thanks to one at 'em ball after another), he was tremendous. Perhaps not the warmest guy, which matters way too much in a Chipper Jones clubhouse, but I'd take Soriano back in a heartbeat.
   59. jmp Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3787809)
That some players get annoyed that others aren't pulling their weight on the being-annoyed-by-hacks-who-are-too-lazy-to-write-their-own-stories front doesn't mean the root of the problem isn't the untalented d-bags who require quotes to fill inches


Listening to beat-writers talk, I don't really think this is it. Going down to talk to the players and get a quote, and then file the article takes more time and is more work than just filling a game story with a description of the game play. I'm guessing the lazy ones would be more than happy to not talk to players at all.

Getting quotes from players is presumably an order from the editor, because they think the customers want them.
   60. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3787813)
It is the world's loss that I didn't become a professional athlete. I'd be a ####### quote machine.


Some enterprising player - maybe Brian Wilson without the hipster baggage - should set up a web cam in his locker and answer every question in sarcastic deadpan. Have a bad day as a reliever? "Well, you know, I really didn't want to be out there at all. Had 'Dancing With The Stars' TIVO'd and wanted to see Kirstie Alley fall 'live,' ya know? But Skip wanted me out there, so I had to go. Figured the best way to get out fast was to groove a couple of BP fastballs. So that's what I did, but that guy didn't get any lift on the ball, so it was just a 2-run double. Was hopin' he'd jack that out and the game would be over, ya know? But he doubled, friggin' tied it up. Like what I needed was extra ####### innings, man! I still haven't gotten to the TV yet! They say that fall is hilarious."

You'd have to webcam it and post the uncut video to a personal blog, in order to guard against misquoting and failure to get the gag.
   61. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3787816)
I also always assumed the beat guy needed to be in contact with the players regularly so they could get material for a story on an open day in the schedule. I used to read the Mercury News religiously and they always had a feature on a player or coach on the days there was no game to report. They were usually puff pieces but it was a good way to get to know the non-stars on the team. Honestly, I don't read a daily paper anymore so I don't know if they still do this.
   62. Danny Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3787817)
Tell me if I'm wrong though. Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."

Not really. To me, it makes Urbina sound like, "I'd rather not answer questions about how badly I performed."
   63. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3787820)
Tell me if I'm wrong though. Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."


Not really, no. I think you're just reading that into the situation because that's sort of the assumed "meaning" of not talking after a bad outing. It could just as easily mean "I'm so pissed off at myself that I don't want to be around people, much less talk about how bad I sucked today, and it's not like 40,000 people didn't see it happen live."

You state that Urbina wasn't much of a talker anyway. Why would he become more of a talker when he had a bad day? I think the assumption that people *should* talk after a bad outing is wrong. Not everyone is R. A. Dickey. Some guys deal with their bad days by setting people on fire.
   64. bfan Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3787825)
Baseball players' incomes are dependant on ticket sales and viewership. Those 2 items are driven by publicity. There is no greater or cheaper publicity than your local newspaper, which pumps out page 1 (on the sports page at least), top of the fold publicity every day.

Obviously, the importance of this depends on your market. Tampa Bay players greet the fans at the turnstiles on opening day, thanking them for their patronage. I have the feeling that if every Yankee player stuck their middle finger at the camera after every game and shouted "F*** you, fans!", that would be seen by your average New Yorker as a sign of character, and attendance would go up.

Not every player is equally skilled at being gracious and giving interviews. Although it does burden his other teammates, I am okay if Soriano hides, if he is simply unable to cope with interviews after a tough loss (he just failed miserably in front of 50,000 customers); some guys can handle it and some others can't. It is up to teams to put the player with the requisite skills in the best position for that player to excel, and sticking Soriano in front of a mike after that performance is no different than sticking CC Sabathia in as a pinch-runner at 1B when you are down by 1 in the 9th; it isn't the best use of talents and resources.

Seeing Soriano's difficulties here makes me appreciate Jeff Francoeur even more :)
   65. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3787828)
Tell me if I'm wrong though. Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."


I don't think you have to work that hard to make Urbina sound like a bad guy. Didn't he try to set some people on fire in South America and then chase them with a machete?
   66. My Grate Friend Peason's pants are rankled Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3787836)
I don't think you have to work that hard to make Urbina sound like a bad guy. Didn't he try to set some people on fire in South America and then chase them with a machete?


I don't care if my players are machete-wielding lunatics, but they better be quotable, dammit!
   67. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3787837)
Seeing Soriano's difficulties here makes me appreciate Jeff Francoeur even more :)


Before we make this judgement we must wait until Francoeur actually realizes that he sucks.
   68. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3787841)
don't care if my players are machete-wielding lunatics, but they better be quotable, dammit!


I will admit that I'd respect T.J. Simers's schtick a lot more if the guy he was ####### with had a machete.
   69. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3787845)
Tell me if I'm wrong though. Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."


Clearly I'm not alone here, but it seems to me like you're wrong. Not everybody feels like basking in their failure. It's a non-story.

Look, these guys aren't politicians. Their failure to talk to the press is not really material to their jobs one way or the other. It's not like they're stonewalling because they don't want you to know something. They just don't feel like talking to your ass. I'd probably be the same way. When I perform poorly, I personally have a tendency to become unbearable to be around. I know this about myself, and usually withdraw from people for a while, until I've cooled off. Would you prefer that he stay in the clubhouse and give you a profanity-laced dressing down when you prod him with questions about his failure?
   70. Nasty Nate Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3787847)
Tell me if I'm wrong though. Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."


Doesn't sound like that to me. Sounds only like "no comment."

Sincere question: If a player who hits a GW homerun avoids the media after the game, is he seen as sounding like "I'm not taking the credit ... credit someone else?"
   71. Dangerous Dean Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#3787850)
If I took $10 million to come and pitch in New York, and then I couldn't get out of an inning, I think people would have the right to ask what went wrong. If Soriano doesn't understand that he has the same responisibility, then the Yankees made a big mistake in giving him that money and that job.
   72. Swedish Chef Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3787861)
I don't think you have to work that hard to make Urbina sound like a bad guy. Didn't he try to set some people on fire in South America and then chase them with a machete?

On the other hand, if Urbina had tried to set the reporters on fire instead of sulking there would have been a more exciting post-game story for the paper.
   73. spike Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3787862)
To me, the issue is that some writers are unable to objectively cover a subject they have gotten a perceived "slight" from. Understandable to an extent, and human nature to be sure, but decidedly unprofessional, and more than a bit hypocritical when the perceived slight is one of so-called unprofessional behavior on the players' part. Availability for questions is not a requirement yet, but apparently is a de facto one to hear some members of the press tell it. The thing just comes off as pretty small on the reporters part.
   74. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:14 PM (#3787869)
If I took $10 million to come and pitch in New York, and then I couldn't get out of an inning, I think people would have the right to ask what went wrong. If Soriano doesn't understand that he has the same responisibility, then the Yankees made a big mistake in giving him that money and that job.


Then perhaps the Yankees should have listened to their GM and not signed Soriano. Soriano was offered $10 million per year. He took it. Can't say as I blame him for that.
   75. JimMusComp misses old primer... Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#3787881)
TR, you're just lucky he didn't set you on fire.


I laughed.

Loudly in my office.
   76. LionoftheSenate Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3787891)
Soriano is temperamental.
   77. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:31 PM (#3787895)
Doesn't that make Urbina sound like, "It's not my fault...I'm not taking the blame...blame somebody else."

Actually it sounds alike lot this:

" "

You could just as easily speculate altruistic motives based on what he didn't say as you could negative ones. Now in the case of Urbina and what we subsequently know, he probably was just busy buying gas and sharpening his machete.

In any event, my real objection is that reporters take such great offense to such things. Maybe the guy ought to talk to the press, but the reporter's hurt feelings aren't the reason why.
   78. and Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#3787899)
I have no idea if Soriano cares about his media image. Of course, I have no idea why most of you seem to care so much about his media image, either.
   79. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3787913)
To be honest, I have a very hard time objectively looking at this issue, because I find most game reports, etc. utterly boring and without merit. So it's hard to weigh the importance of getting a quote, when I know that (A) such a quote most likely won't tell me anything new or useful, and (B) I probably won't read the damned thing anyway.
   80. Dave Spiwak Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3787921)
Sincere question: If a player who hits a GW homerun avoids the media after the game, is he seen as sounding like "I'm not taking the credit ... credit someone else?"


After a player hits a GW homerun, almost all you'll ever hear is them not taking the credit: "my teammates got on base and I got a pitch to hit" ... "I just put the bat on the ball and the guys in front of me did a great job taking pitches and getting in position for us to win the game," etc.

But you're still going to sit there and give the interview.

It's what's expected of you today as a professional baseball player. Your role goes beyond the field, and many franchises fully expect their players to do off-field stuff like interviews, appearances, charity work, etc. It's part of what they get paid to do. Just like part of what they get paid to do is get yelled at by drunken jerks in the stands, and be civil when everyone stares at them when they take their families out for dinner, or when people ask for their autographs when they're getting milk at the grocery store on Sunday morning.

Most teams expect their players to help maintain the team brand. Don't say anything crazy, don't rock the boat. Some teams can get away with being PG-13 -- like the Giants -- because the local market can handle it. In NY you can be a fun, drunken lout like David Wells, but don't snub the media after a game like Randy Johnson or Rafael Soriano.

Heck -- I'm just some dude on a message board, and I know most of these "unwritten rules." The players definitely know this stuff, and if they're not falling in line with their team's expectations, then they're not doing their job.
   81. Ron J Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#3787925)
His history of playing poorly (or with perceived -- by teammates and coaches, not media -- petulance) when brought in to pitch in situations he deems to be beneath his dignity is well-documented.


But doesn't happen to be true. For his career he's pitched consistently well in non-save situations and in low leverage situations.

In Tampa Bay he simply wasn't used much in non-save situations. When he was (57 PAs), well .173/.228/.269 with a K/BB ration better than his overall numbers is none too shabby. He gave up all of 3 runs (and 9 hits) in non-save situations so there couldn't have been too many bad outings.

In Atlanta he was at his least effective in high leverage situations. .227/.291/.375 in save situations, .166/.247/.269 in non-save situations and .244/.301/.431 in high leverage situations.

Again in 2008 (not that he pitched much) he was at his very best in low leverage situations.

2007: Well I can sort of see it. He was utterly amazing in save situations (.120/.162/.250 -- 105 PAs). But you know I can live with a guy who can count .220/.275/.421 as struggling. .186/.233/.363 with a 5.2/1 K/BB ratio in low leverage (presumably beneath his dignity) situations.

2006: Again I can sort of see it. .139/.213/.278 in high leverage situations, .213/.300/.313 in low leverage situations.

Nothing to note in 2004 or 2005

2003: Pitched better in non-save situations. (.145/.219/.214) Not that he was lousy in his limited time in save situations (.225/.244/.325 in 41 PAs)

The pitching poorly part is simply selective memory. Petulance? Can't speak to that WRT Soriano, but I'm an Oriole fan going back to the late 60s. Didn't care for Jim Palmer's petulance but was glad to have him on the team.

EDIT: No cokes awarded. Extra details provided.
   82. Swoboda is freedom Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3787928)
On the other hand, if Urbina had tried to set the reporters on fire instead of sulking there would have been a more exciting post-game story for the paper.

Not really, as there would be no one to report it. At least not by deadline.
   83. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3787930)
Game stories are pretty redundant at this point, I agree. But some of the people on this thread are so over-the-top anti-reporter it is truly comical.
   84. Ron J Posted: April 06, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#3787943)
Not really, as there would be no one to report it. At least not by deadline.


Only if his RSOF/RP is 1.0

And that's a lot to ask from a first attempt.
   85. spike Posted: April 06, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#3787962)
But some of the people on this thread are so over-the-top anti-reporter it is truly comical.


Look, he blew the game. Report that. He didn't give a presser and say "I'm sorry" - report that too. Stringing together a bunch of innuendo, unsupported assertions, statements of dubious factual accuracy, and loaded adjectives to imply this was some moral failing is not reporting, it's score-settling. Sherman is being either a dick or a troll, and to say so is hardly being "anti-reporter" (unless you happen to be one, in which case apparently anything you don't like qualifies).
   86. Srul Itza Posted: April 06, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3787972)
Joel Sherman is a columnist for the New York Post.

The description for that job (whether political columnist, media columnist or sports columnist) is "stir up sht". I sincerely doubt the word "insightful" or "respectful" or "logical" or "literate" appears anywhere on the same page.

He was following form in his earlier articles about Soriano. He was following form in this article. He will keep following form.

Is any of that a surprise?
   87. spike Posted: April 06, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3787974)
Of course not. But pointing that out, while quixotic and boring to many, is neither factually incorrect nor a slight to the profession of reporters.
   88. Nasty Nate Posted: April 06, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3787976)
It's what's expected of you today as a professional baseball player. Your role goes beyond the field, and many franchises fully expect their players to do off-field stuff like interviews, appearances, charity work, etc. It's part of what they get paid to do. Just like part of what they get paid to do is get yelled at by drunken jerks in the stands, and be civil when everyone stares at them when they take their families out for dinner, or when people ask for their autographs when they're getting milk at the grocery store on Sunday morning.

Most teams expect their players to help maintain the team brand. Don't say anything crazy, don't rock the boat. Some teams can get away with being PG-13 -- like the Giants -- because the local market can handle it. In NY you can be a fun, drunken lout like David Wells, but don't snub the media after a game like Randy Johnson or Rafael Soriano.

Heck -- I'm just some dude on a message board, and I know most of these "unwritten rules." The players definitely know this stuff, and if they're not falling in line with their team's expectations, then they're not doing their job.


Yes, dealing with the media is part of the job. But, giving no comment after a loss is a way of dealing with the media. And it is a far better at the PR side, and building team image etc, than some angry outburst (although not as good for those purposes, admittedly, as giving a calm and non-controversial interview.) There are many players who have been burned by their own comments, so it can be a damned if you do/damned if you don't situation - especially a guy who has English as a second language.

As for the team's expectations, do we really know them in this case? Its entirely plausible that the Yankees don't want him to talk when riled up and risk making controversial remarks, given his temperment.
   89. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3788029)
Rather, the article is about how Soriano's silence suggests that he will continue to fail because he's a head case who doesn't want to be in New York as a setup man.

New York already had a closer when Soriano signed with them? Who knew?
   90. Howie Menckel Posted: April 06, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#3788044)
The silence is over, per Twitter

PeterBotte

Sori just said sorry for blowing off media after blowing up on mound Tues. Said Boras told him "Whatever happens, I have to talk to u guys"

P.S. I just realized that this memory is ideal for this forum.
The joy of covering Mets/Yankees games in the 1990s was that you needed to be in the clubhouse by 3:30 or so for say a 7:30 game. It was hard to say who hated it more, the players or the writers. It wasn't until 5:15 or so that the manager would do his pre-game, and some players weren't even THERE yet at 3:30.

How did this happen? I was told that one writer with a lot of clout insisted that the clubhouse be open so early (for a 7:30 p.m. NBA game, btw, the media access is/was 6 pm til 6:45 pm, and the players would barely arrive before 6 p.m.).

And in the competitive NY media, if one writer was going to be there, so were the other writers. All 7 to 10 of them, or more if it's a big game.

Anyway, who was this powerful writer?

BBTF favorite and angry blogger Murray Chass, then with the NY Times.

You can't make it up...
   91. phredbird Posted: April 06, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3788049)
I will admit that I'd respect T.J. Simers's schtick a lot more if the guy he was ####### with had a machete.


well, most of them walk around carrying bats.
   92. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: April 06, 2011 at 08:43 PM (#3788109)
The next excuse R.A. Dickey ever makes will be his first. He is the real deal as a person.

Ah, but will he do interviews on top of Kilimanjaro?
   93. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 06, 2011 at 09:30 PM (#3788152)
I don't think there's really a language barrier with Soriano. He does have one of the thickest accents I've ever heard, the first time I saw him interviewed after a Rays game I literally spent the first 10 seconds thinking he was speaking Spanish because I wasn't recognizing the words as English, but in that and subsequent interviews he appeared to have no trouble. He seemed to understand the questions asked him just fine and his word choices and sentence structure were pretty normal for a non-native speaker.

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